A man charged after shoplifting $40 of groceries when he was hungry says he's overwhelmed with the response and donations from strangers in the community.
CBC News reported on the story of Lewis Kearney on Thursday, who had to appear in provincial court in St. John's after being charged when he was caught stealing from a grocery store.
Kearney said he would rather starve than be forced to steal food again, and wasn't sure how he was going to be able to afford groceries in the coming weeks.
By Friday, Kearney ran out of room in his kitchen to store all of the donated food that started coming in from strangers who heard about his struggles.
"A lot of people say there's angels on earth we just don't see 'em. Well, I think many Newfoundlanders are angels that we don't know that live among us," he said.
Kearney said he's received so many donations of food and gift cards that he plans on donating some of it to the local food bank.
"From the groceries that have been donated the last day or so, I think I have enough to do me for the whole winter," said Kearney.
"I got so many gift cards there, hundreds of dollars in gift cards, and the fridge is full, cupboards are full. I think I'm good for quite a while."
'Charity begins at home'
People started contacted Kearney Thursday evening after CBC News reported his story.
Strangers like Janice Osbourne drove an hour and a half to St. John's just to make a donation to Kearney.
"No one should have to be hungry. I mean, I don't think that social services pays enough and he was hungry. My God, he just wanted to eat," said Osbourne.
"It's not right in this day and age — it's 2014. It seems we are going backwards instead of ahead and if we can help one person … charity begins at home."
Kearney said he doesn't know how to respond to all the people offering him help, but a simple thank you will have to do for now.
"I feel blessed and thankful for the kindness of people. Sometimes you pass by a person and not speak to them but this would bring you to tears, only I have all of my tears cried out, I think," he said.
Kearney said he's been trying to get help from social services for months with no response, but today they called him back.
He said the department promised him new glasses and told him to call again next time he needs help.